I’m still Nikola from the Block!

When thinking about blog topics… the last place anyone should think I began at is with a bad pun. Unless you’re me. (People who know me are cowering behind their sofa’s right now).

Be thankful you only endure this once in a lifetime!

Looking at the amount of work I accumulated last year, I cannot believe I did it all. I travelled the world, shared my thoughts on magic and got to perform on some incredible stages.

However, One of the enduring thoughts I felt about last year was that my head wasn’t in a good place.

Not in terms of the actual performances on stage (dr. theatre for me always pulls through). But prior to most performances my brain made me feel pretty rubbish.

Realising this, I discovered a need to alter my mindset by handling my emotions, nerves and thoughts more efficiently during pre-show and after-show.

There’s an ‘Imposter’ inside of me

I’ve been performing as FizzWizzPop now since 2008. Which means I’m pretty much happy with this creation of mine.

The character is a part of me and has got to the stage I can literally do anything with her. I’m so proud of where she is right now and where she will go in the future.

I know, as the evidence shows, it has taken 13 years for me to take FizzWizzPop from complete beginner to this level of expertise in the field of children’s entertainment.

My close up and stage persona, Nikola Arkane has really just been born. In September, 2019 to be precise. So for me, this character is really just an infant.

Although, when many of you have seen me performing you might have thought, “wow how professional and talented she is.” Or depending on your taste, maybe not!

However inside, I feel terrible whilst learning to perform as this new person. And get so nervous!

The gist of my brain

It’s not that I don’t want to perform magic, I do, more than anything! And I created Nikola Arkane so that I could perform the magic I’ve always wanted to perform on stages.

My whole life all I have ever wanted to do is create beautiful magic. Magic for people to enjoy and share my love of this art form. And also create the kind magic I want to see on stage and perform.

However, alongside this really happy thought, my brain, is telling me that I’m crap at performing this type of magic. And that I do not deserve to be on the stage with these incredibly talented people I look up to.

The weirdest thing is, I know deep down inside that, to a certain degree, I am good at what I do. Although – still learning!

In 2022 this actually came to a head during some performances where a trick kept going wrong (I should say it probably wasn’t that bad for the audience. Just for me, it wasn’t perfect and I knew in my head what I thought the trick should be) and I got so upset I cried for a full hour (maybe two) in between shows.

Looking back on it now I realise that it was my brain that made me upset. My own perception and standards I held myself made me think that way, because in reality, no-one came up to me and said, “Hey, that was rubbish and you shouldn’t be on that stage” after it happened. The only person that thought that was me. In my head.

Get outta my dreams, get into my car!

One of my favourite songs as a child by Billy Ocean. Only now do I realise that the words I used to sing out loud whilst listening to this song on family drives across the North Coast of Ireland that the lyrics are slightly dubious. Also youtube won’t let me share the video for it either. So if you want to hear a cool 80’s catchy tune – google it!

If i want to keep on achieving my goals in magic and life in the future, I have to get my brain in order. I can’t become a nervous wreck every time (before and after) I perform as Nikola Arkane. I can’t keep on being so hard on her and more importantly, myself

I’ve been through a lot in the last year emotionally and the last few years even more so. I’ve worked for three years to become aware (as I mentioned in a pervious blog) that my brain is not my best friend.

Working daily to focus in on the actual reality of things rather than my brains version of my reality, which simply, isn’t true. I know now when I should listen to my thoughts, and when to question them.

Weirdly though, this skill of not trusting my brain, has not expanded yet to my performances as Nikola Arkane. So, my brain, who is a surviver, has decided to attack the only weak area that I have not learnt to put up defences for, and that is during pre and post-performance.

I must thank the wonderful, Katherine Rhodes, current Vice President of The Magic Circle, for chatting with me about feeling this way. Katherine managed to, in a very short space of time, make me see that we all feel like this. An overwhelming feeling that we simply are not good enough. The feeling is real but perhaps we need to question the truth in it.

Thankfully others don’t see me as my brain does. If they did, I think they would absolutely horrified at what my brain thinks of me. But what I know deep down is that there thoughts are just that, thoughts. They aren’t really real.

So, I am choosing to say no more brain. These attacks must stop.

I’m actively working with my brain as Nikola Arkane, professional magician who knows a thing or two about magic and I know that I am good at what I do. And, it is only going to get better in the years to come.

Remember… Little and Often… forget winning the race!

Situations do not change overnight. We cannot improve anything we want to with a click of a finger. But we can choose to act upon something and make it happen. Step by step. Little by little. It’s so difficult to see your own improvements. Believe me, if you are working on them, even when you fail and take a step backwards, having an awareness that you want to move forward is key. The only person who is stopping you being great is YOU!

So, let us keep on moving forward in life. Onwards… To believing in ourselves and our magic!

Nikola Arkane 2024

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